I returned to a book I used once before in this blog: The Epicure's Book of Steak and Beef Dishes.
Today my attention focused on page 60, in the chapter titled "Steak".
fillet steak: 1 1/2 pounds
salt and pepper: to taste
for the batter
flour: 1/2 cup
milk: 1/2 to 2/3 cup
onion: 1 small
chopped chives: 1 teaspoon
oil: generous 1/2 cup
watercress: to taste
tomatoes: 4 to 5
1. Cut the beef into narrow strips; these should be no more than 1/2 inch in thickness. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper; cover and leave in the refrigerator for an hour.
2. Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl, separate the eggs, and beat the egg yolks and the milk into the flour until you have a smooth batter.
3. Peel and grate the onion, add to the batter together with the chives and a little salt and pepper.
4. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, fold into the batter; this should not be done until just before the steak is about to be cooked.
5. Drop the steak into the batter and turn gently, so that it is evenly coated.
6. Heat the oil in a large, heavy frying pan; to test if this is the right heat, put in a cube of day-old bread and it should turn golden within 30 seconds.
7. Spoon the steak into the hot oil, fry quickly until golden brown; this takes about 2 minutes. Turn and cook on the second side for the same time.
8. Lower the heat and continue cooking for another 3-8 minutes, depending upon how well done you like the meat.
9. Lift the batter-coated steak onto absorbent paper to drain.
To serve: Garnish with the watercress and thinly sliced tomatoes.
The directions were simple and easy to follow.
I suspect, after having completed the recipe, that I should have cut the beef strips longways down the middle, to make them more like sticks.
|Thin but not narrow.|
|First side cooking.|
|Second side cooking.|
I tried not to stack the pieces on the plate while they were draining so the batter wouldn't get soggy. I wasn't entirely successful but it worked out.
I served them as the main dish, accompanied by some cooked, shredded potatoes and sliced tomatoes. (Sorry, no watercress available at the time!)
|This was just my first helping.|
The texture was excellent: the meat was tender, the coating was crispy and light.
The flavor was excellent: the onion added a nice little zing to each bite that almost tasted like vinegar. I didn't pick up on the chives at all but they added visual interest to the dish.
Overall it reminded me of some really good tempura or onion rings that I have had. I'm guessing the batter is similar with the whipped egg whites in it. I was pleased, too, that I had gotten the right temperature for the oil and managed to keep it that way throughout the cooking process. That bread trick worked well!
Success! I could do better next time, I think, but we all enjoyed it and I liked the (few remaining) leftovers, too, when they were cold. They might also be good with a little malt vinegar sprinkled on.
Ms. Patten did not mention any sort of background for this dish so I looked around the web a bit. I find it is listed as Argentinian, which is famous for its beef. I'm not surprised! The recipe I found found had chilis added to the batter and had some more herbs mixed in. They described it as a "rich dish" and needed to be served with light sides like salad and rice. Source: Argentina Cooks!
I also had the impression that this is a lot like an Elizabethan recipe called Bacon Froize. Basically cooked bacon cooked again in a batter.